Heritage Bridge Award 2008

In 1968 he made his first record with his band, the Wondering Souls, on Savoy Records. In 1986 his record of “The Ground is Level at the Foot of the Cross” became a Gospel hit, garnering big awards.

Harold Williamson and the Wondering Souls with Harold as the lead singer and songwriter have shared stages with Shirley Caesar, Mighty Clouds of Joy, James Cleveland, and many other greats of gospel. They have played the famed Apollo Theater and many other places around the country.

In the 1990’s Harold moved back to Shelby and recreated his band, the New Wondering Souls, with Shelby musicians. Their 2006 CD is called “Hooked On God’s Love” and almost all the songs were written by Harold. His music is uplifting, although it often touches on hardships that he and others face. In performance and on record the sound is big and full and dynamic.

Harold is exactly the kind of artist that the Heritage Bridge Award was envisioned for. He has achieved regional and national recognition and has produced high level of artistry over a long career but he is not well known by everyone in the community that helped shape him. He is continuing to bring his music back to Cleveland County and to inspire people with his praise and encouraging presence.

He has volunteered his time to visit and sing with students at North Shelby School. When he first moved back to Shelby, he and long time friend and guitarist William Cord performed for and sang with special needs students at the school. “That was great because they sang with us and some of them couldn’t really talk,” Harold said.

A major accomplishment that he is proud of is his mentoring of younger musicians and friends. In this way he embodies the spirit of the award to pass the torch on to the next generations. Harold Williamson is truly a bridge from past to present, from young to old and from the experience of a rural and small town minority background to the wider world – to all of us.

2005 Ray Ledford
2006 Horace Scruggs
2007 Frank Love, Jr.
2008 Harold Williamson
2010 David Lee
2010 Myrtle Irvin Green
2011 Dan X. Padgett
2012 Dr. Bobby
2013 Charles Kendrick
2014 David E. Wilson
2015 R. C. Nanney

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